Security guards patrol botanic garden

Security guards are patrolling the Dunedin Botanic Garden as part of a crackdown on antisocial behaviour.

Botanic garden team leader Alan Matchett confirmed a security firm was contracted to "wander around and make their presence known".

"We have ramped it up over the last few years, particularly in regards to the alcohol and the unacceptable behaviour."

Earlier this year, the park made international headlines concerning the student drinking game "possum", where participants sit in trees and drink large amounts of alcohol.

Large groups of young people drinking excessively on the terraced rock garden during warmer months was not a "desirable activity", and those groups would be asked to leave.

However, there was no move to clamp down on those who had a glass of wine or beer as part of a picnic.

Nor were there plans to introduce a liquor ban, but there "were other discussions taking place", he said.

Joshua Robert Tunnicliffe (27) was found dead in the garden on Sunday morning, after allegedly inhaling from gas canisters.

The death came a day after a security guard was spotted patrolling near the main entrance of the gardens.

Mr Matchett said he knew little about the huffing incident, but confirmed staff had comes across the odd bag of glue in the garden.

He noted the garden was a pedestrian precinct, and rules included no cycling or skateboarding.

"We are asking our security contractors to assist us and approach people advising them that they need to walk."

Staff used discretion when young children and bikes were concerned, but he confirmed in one case a new security contractor "did indicate to parents that their kiddies should not be riding".

"But that has been rectified."

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

While you're at it

Woodhaugh Gardens is rapidly becoming a pot smoker's den and haven for vandals. A few security patrols in this area would help return Woodhaugh to hidden gem status.

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